Category: Disneyland Restaurants

Race Weekend Dining at Disneyland Resort

Disneyland has some incredible dining options and choosing which ones are best while you are visiting for a race weekend can be a tough decision!!  You want to enjoy all that goodness, but you have to keep in mind the optimal nutrition for the races.  Now after the races are a whole different story…

Well I’m happy to say that Jenna is back today with a TON of tips and delicious food porn from her recent trip to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  If you are hungry, you have been warned!

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Whether you eat to optimize your running, or run so you can eat all the things, you’ll be able to find something great to eat on a race-cation to Disneyland. I took full advantage of the diverse choices available.

TangaroaTerraceSalad

While you’re at the Race Expo at Disneyland Hotel, why not stop over at Tangaroa Terrace for this beautiful salad? The Tangaroa Terrace Salad has mixed greens of lettuce, cabbage and kale, and is topped with pineapple, grape tomatoes and toasted macadamia nuts. It comes with crispy marinated tofu, but I opted for sautéed shrimp instead. It was extremely good and fresh tasting.

BreakfastOfChamps

The one big drawback of staying on property at Disneyland is that you are somewhat limited for early breakfast. I couldn’t find any information on whether Paradise Pier was going to have food for sale early on race days, so I packed a package of bagels and some single serve peanut butter packs for breakfast. That banana cost me $2 at the coffee/breakfast stand at Paradise Pier. All subsequent bananas were 2 for $1 from the 7-11 a half mile from Disneyland. The ART bus makes that trip a little shorter, but you’ll still have to walk a ways. I understand Von’s grocery store delivers!

CarnationCafeVanillaLatte

After an early morning running the 5K, I needed two things: caffeine and carbs! The Carnation Café on Disneyland’s Main Street met both needs admirably. I started with a lovely vanilla latte.

CarnationCafeAppleGranolaPancakes

Then I moved on to the apple-granola pancakes. The pancakes are light and fluffy and the apple and granola toppings are yummy! It comes with either hickory smoked bacon or chicken-apple sausages. I had the sausages and added a side of fresh fruit. They serve breakfast until 11:00. A later breakfast meant no lunch for me that day.

StageDoorCorndog

A corn dog and fries is probably not the healthiest choice for race-cation dining, but there’s no denying that it’s a tasty choice! Stage Door Café in Disneyland and Corn Dog Castle both sell hand-dipped corn dogs that are better than any corn dog you’ve had in the past, hands down. If you want to healthy it up a little bit, you can opt for apple slices instead of fries.

ParadiseGardenGrillBeefSkewer

For a far healthier choice in the same general area of Corn Dog Castle in DCA, one of the Mediterranean skewer platters at Paradise Garden Grill is excellent. You can select your choice of grilled steak, lemon-oregano chicken, spicy meatball, or grilled tofu and vegetables. You then choose either chili sauce, chimichurri sauce, or tzatziki. All platters come with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and pita. I chose the grilled steak with chimichurri sauce. The steak was well-marinated, tender and tasty. The whole platter was delicious and I would definitely recommend Paradise Garden Grill for someone looking for a good counter service meal in DCA.

ParadiseGardenGrillBand

As a bonus, Paradise Garden Grill has lots of comfortable outdoor seating and a bandstand for entertainment. I just happened to sit down when the Ellis Island Boys jazz band was playing. It was a great way to enjoy a meal!

RiverBelleTerraceRoastTurkey

If you’re in the mood for a homey, filling counter service meal in Disneyland, I recommend the River Belle Terrace. I had tender roast turkey and gravy, roasted potatoes and succotash with a buttermilk biscuit and a side of cranberry marmalade. They also have roast beef, fish, black bean cakes, as well as sandwiches and salads. Its close proximity to the Rivers of America make it a great choice for a quick meal before staking out a spot for Fantasmic.

WineCountryTrat_Bruschetta

If you haven’t opted for the Pasta in the Park party the night before the half marathon, but you want to carb load, Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure is an excellent choice. We were seated a few tables over from runDisney hero Sean Astin, which confirms my opinion. We started with the rustic bruschetta with roasted artichokes, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized onions. There were four pieces of bruschetta (two of our party were a little quick to grab theirs, so the picture is missing a little something), which turned out to be the perfect portion to share.

WineCountryTrat_CampanellaBolgnese

All three of us chose the campanelle Bolognese as our entrée. The servings are quite large (I only ate about half of mine) and the sauce and pasta are excellent. The “pasta your way” at Wine Country Trattoria comes with three pasta choices (campanelle, spaghetti or tagliatelle) and five different choices for sauce.

When you’ve finished your race or races, you will naturally want to celebrate! Luckily, Disneyland offers a lot of different choices for a celebratory meal or drink! I chose to celebrate the 5K and the Half Marathon three different times, just because I’m like that!

MendocinoTerraceSparkling

Immediately after recovering from the half, I texted my friends “I need champagne.” They didn’t need to confirm. We knew where we were going. Mendocino Terrace in California Adventure is next to Wine Country Trattoria and offers a lot of different red, white and sparkling wines, as well as beer and soda. I started with a sparkling flight poured by friendly and knowledgeable sommelier, John. Flights are not listed on the regular menu, so you do have to ask if you want that option, and because they use glass glasses instead of plastic, you do need to stand at the bar while tasting. It soon became apparent that the St. Hilaire was my favorite, so my friends and I had an additional flute or two while enjoying the afternoon parade from the terrace.

MendocinoTerraceCheeseBox

I also got the cheese box which had an assortment of cheeses (including a fantastic bleu)), grapes, candied walnuts and a couple of packets of grissini breadsticks.

ArielsGrottoView

But how would you like to have dinner with a view like that, knowing that you’d have an equally great view of World of Color later? We had our post-race dinner at Ariel’s Grotto for the World of Color package. It’s a fixed price meal, and you really can’t beat the view down on the lower terrace.

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ArielsGrottoSuperfruitSangriaRed

Upon being seated, we had beautiful bread and the superfruit sangria that’s available at nearly every Disney lounge. I’ve even had that sangria at Disney’s Vero Beach resort!

ArielsGrottoButternutSquashSoup

The meal starts with a choice of two soups: butternut squash and crab chowder; or a house salad. I got the delicious butternut squash soup and my friends had the crab chowder, which they said was excellent. The serving size is exactly right for a three course dinner.

ArielsGrottoBBQTriTip

There are a number of different entrees on the dinner menu, but I didn’t stray too far into the exotic. I had the red oak smoked honey-whiskey barbecue tri tip. It came with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. I enjoyed the sauce and the beef was cooked exactly the way I like it. My friends had the tri-tip with the addition of a grilled lobster tail.

ArielsGrottoDDessertTrio

Dessert at Ariel’s Grotto is a trio of petite desserts: a chocolate covered strawberry, s’mores cake, and crème brulee. All were delicious and right-sized.

The dinner package includes preferred viewing for the California Adventure night time show, World of Color. The viewing area is not the innermost “wet zone” ring around the lagoon, but is just inside that ring. I got thoroughly misted by the show, but had a fairly unobstructed view. I had a FastPass for World of Color the previous year and would have to say that this viewing area is better and less crowded.

FantasmicDessertView

If a view like this and a chance to celebrate while sitting and enjoying decadent desserts is more your celebration style, I can’t recommend the Fantasmic! Dessert Party enough. It’s a little pricey, but definitely worth it if you don’t want to stake out a spot hours in advance to stand up for the duration of Fantasmic with what might still end up being an obstructed view. I was lucky enough to have a front-row center seat for the show. And besides that: dessert!

FantasmicDessertBox

When you’re seated for Fantasmic, a server takes your drink order. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, soda and water are all available. I had hot chocolate and water. Then your server brings you a large box filled with tasty treats. This included flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake, a coconut macaroon, a lemon tart, and a huge, raspberry-filled cookie. The box also contains a bunch of red grapes, five pieces of individually wrapped cheeses, two packs of crackers and two truffles. The box’s size and shape makes it a neat lap top table/container and makes it easy to carry leftovers out of the park. I was only able to eat some of the desserts, and took the rest, all of the cheese, crackers, and truffle back to my room to enjoy later.

I thoroughly enjoyed eating my way around Disneyland and I think it’s clear where my running/eating motivation lies. What are your favorite Disney foods to eat on race-cations?

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel

With the news of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto coming to the revamped Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort next year (BEST NEWS EVER!), I thought I’d take a trip out to Disneyland and visit one of my favorite places, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.  This was a must do for me when I visited Disneyland for the first time last year.  I had heard it was like a combination of the Tambu Lounge and the old Adventurer’s Club, both favorite spots of mine in Walt Disney World.

Trader-Sams-Disneyland

Located in the Disneyland Hotel, this adventurous watering hole is the home of Trader Sam, head salesman of the Amazon Jungle. You may know him from a little attraction called the Jungle Cruise… Anyway, after decades of traveling through the jungle, Sam has collected tons of artifacts and perfected the art of mixology.  He’s now set up shop and one of the most unique and entertaining lounges was born!  We set up camp here for quite some time on a hot afternoon and just had a great day.  It is small, dark and full of adventure!

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Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Window-Volcano

Wait…are we in the South Pacific??  Sure looks like it…  It’s amazing how you feel completely transported to another place!  And it’s not just the atmosphere that does that, but the food & drinks fit right in.  The menus are so unique and SO delicious!  Let’s start with some cocktails…

Hands down, our favorite drink was Ginger’s Pear-adise.  This is pear vodka, ginger liquor, organic agave nectar and fresh lime juice served straight up with cherries.  This is so good, it’s dangerous!

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Make sure to ask for extra cherries, then let them sit and marinate in your drink 😉

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I also tried the Shrunken Zombie Head.  I mean, Sam is known for shrinking heads so it only seemed right.  This is reserve and aged rums, tropical juices, falernum and cinnamon.  You can get this in a regular glass OR in a souvenir shrunken zombie head.  That’s an obvious choice, no?

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Shrunken-Zombie-Head

This was good, but a little too sweet for my taste.  However I was a big fan of the twisty straw it came with. Oh and speaking of souvenir mugs…they have various limited edition mugs that you can buy!  They are all really cool and I almost bought them all, but the zombie is the only one that made it back to CT.

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Like beer?  Watch out because whenever you order something from the tap, it angers the gods a bit…

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After a cocktail, some snacks are definitely in order and Trader Sam’s doesn’t just offer your typical bar fare.  The menu is awesome!

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Menu

We had eaten lunch not to long before that, but I knew I had to try the Fish Tacos.  O.M.G.  These were SO GOOD!  I mean, I’ve never really met a taco that I didn’t, but these were fantastic.

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Fish-Tacos

Next time I think I’m going to try the Ahi Poke and the Kalua Pork Flatbred…YUM!

The bartenders are really fun and have a great time with all of the guests.  I think I might have mentioned that I really liked the bendy straw…so I got a bunch of them with my water.

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Bendy-Straws

Don’t be surprised if you get sprayed with lava when someone orders the famous Uh Oa…Watch Out!

What’s going on with that guys chair?

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Sinking-Chair

Yes, he’s shrinking!  A few of the chair around the bar actually shrink while you are sitting there.  At first you start to wonder if you’ve had too much to drink, but no, it’s just the fun bartenders playing a trick on you…

Trader-Sams-Disneyland-Sinking-Chair-Sarah-Amanda

So small…

I just LOVE this place!  It is so much fun and the news that it is coming to Walt Disney World just made my day!!  Now, I just need to convince B that we need to get points at the new Polynesian DVC Resort so we can just stumble back to our bungalow 🙂

Have you been to Trader Sam’s?  Are you excited it is coming to Walt Disney World?

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Breakfast at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Disneyland

Mmmmm breakfast…one of my favorite meals of the day!  I particularly love when you can find different and unusual breakfast options.  So when I first saw the menu at Flo’s V8 Cafe, I knew I had to have breakfast there when I went out to the west coast for the Disneyland Half Marathon!

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Nestled in the back of Carsland and overlooking the amazing Radiator Springs Racers, Flo’s V8 Cafe is like stepping back in time.  Back to the neon and nostalgia of the 1950s…it’s SO FUN!

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Flos-V8-Breakfast1

Flos-V8-Breakfast2

I went in knowing what I was going to order.  Ever since the restaurant opened in June 2012, I knew what I was going to order…Chicken Tamale Breakfast please!  This is a chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo.  Right up my alley! The only problem with that dish is that I can’t eat eggs..sigh.

Oh well that was no problem!  They took the eggs out and let me substitute for a side.  WIN! Obviously I went with the amazing hash browns for my side…I mean, how could you not get that for your side?!?

As I was waiting my special order, I noticed the fun beers they had on tap for the later crowd.   Now I don’t like IPAs, but the Racer 5 IPA looks intriguing enough for me to try!

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We waited a few extra minutes and got our meals…oh man!

The chicken tamale (sans eggs) with a side of potatoes was beyond amazing!  Honestly, I still dream about this dish…

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B went with the more traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit.  Oh man was that biscuit good!!

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We grabbed a booth overlooking Radiator Springs Racers and went to town on this meal!

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I have to say, even without the eggs, this is a meal I crave to this day!  That salsa verde is SO GOOD!!  Wait…did I already say that?! 😉

As a Walt Disney World regular, I can’t help but be sad that this is not an option over here.  That “California cuisine” needs to make it’s way east because it’s amazing!!

Have you eaten at Flo’s V8 Cafe for breakfast?  What is your favorite Disney breakfast?

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Friday Feast: Pre-Race Meal at Tortilla Joe’s

It’s no secret that I’m a Mexican food addict.  I could eat chips, salsa and guac everyday without getting tired of it.  Some might think that it is a strange cuisine for a pre-race meal, but it is my go to!  As seen by my pre-race recommendations for Walt Disney World, I’ve eaten at San Angel Inn prior to the WDW Marathon and Maya Grill prior to the 2013 Princess Half, both of which worked out very well!

So it’s probably no surprise that I went with Mexican prior to the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon!  My friend Amanda (a fellow Mexican food junkie) has raved about Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney ever since eating there of Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend and we knew that was going to be the place to go!

01 Tortilla-Jos

Tortilla Jo’s is part of the Patina Restaurant Group, which also runs one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World, Tutto Gusto, as well as a few other Disney restaurants.  Since we had an early morning that day from the Disneyland 10K and knew we were hitting the sack early for the half marathon, an early dinner was in order.  B, Amanda and I headed over there around 4:45 pm and there was already a 20 minute wait…you should’ve seen it when we left!  The restaurant was massive and can probably hold over 400 people, so having it be that busy was a good sign 😉  I mean look at this menu…YUM!  Click the image for a larger version.

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TortillaJos_Margarita-SpecialDrinks

Once seated, we were brought some chips and salsa and we promptly ordered the table side guacamole we saw being prepared at the table next to us.  Now Tara Gidus advised against fats pre-race in the runDisney meet up earlier that week, but I just couldn’t pass up the guac.  Avocado is a healthy fat, right??

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04 Tortilla-Jos-Guac

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I also ordered another pre-race no-no…a margarita.  Look I had just ran a 10K that morning and it was still early enough in the day that it wouldn’t effect my sleep or the race.  What is Mexican food without a margarita??  Are my excuses convincing??

03 Tortilla-Jos-Margarita

Jo’s Super Gold Margarita

I didn’t want to order something too heavy for my meal and I definitely didn’t want to be weighed down with tons of dairy.  Jo’s Carnitas seemed to be the obvious choice.  Braised pork with some rice and beans for carbs…perfect!  Oh and was it oh so delicious!

Jo's Carnitas

Jo’s Carnitas

Crispy Pork Goodness!

Crispy Pork Goodness!

The pork came with freshly made corn tortillas and extra bonus, the waitress was nice enough to give me a few extra to bring back to the hotel for a morning snack.  You can bet that I loaded those up with some peanut butter the next morning 😉

Amanda ordered the same dish and B went with his favorite Enchiladas Suizas.  I didn’t try them, but they looked great and he said they were really good.  He particularly liked the corn that came with it which had a bit of a kick to it.

08 Tortilla-Jos-Enchiladas

We left there stuffed to the gills and very satisfied.  Probably one of the best Mexican dishes I’ve ever had.  Hey Patina Restaurant Group…can you PLEASE open one of these in Downtown Disney in Orlando so I can eat there more often??  That would rule!

Have you eaten at Tortilla Jo’s?  What is your go to pre-race meal?

Friday Feast: Disneyland Table Service Dining Must Dos!

After the Disneyland Half Marathon last year, I was craving all of the amazing counter service meals I saw people enjoying while out there.  Disneyland counter service blows Walt Disney World out of the water from what I’ve seen…remember, I haven’t even been there yet!

So with my upcoming trip (only a short 2.5 weeks away!!!!!) I obviously have myself looking towards food.  Shocking I know.  I still plan on paying a visit to Rancho del Zocalo, Flo’s V-8 Cafe and Bengal Barbeque, but now I have my sights set on table service restaurants…bring on the goodness!!

First stop of our trip is the Carthay Circle Restaurant.  We have reservations here for the first night we arrive and I couldn’t be more excited.  Ever since I saw the first reviews come out, I knew this restaurant would be right up my alley!

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

From the signature Firecracker Duck Wings to the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, everything looks amazing!  Oh and of course I can’t wait to try one of their signature cocktails or maybe some of that Lassetter wine (yes, as in John Lassetter!) that Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run Disney enjoyed when she was there.  It’s 3 days before any races, what can it hurt?!? 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Next on my list is the Blue Bayou.  While the menu at this restaurant really doesn’t appeal to me all that much and it seems WAY over priced, I always hear that this is a must do for every Disneyland first-timer.  Hey, that’s me!  And while the menu isn’t all that appealing, the atmosphere is and from all the photos I’ve seen I’m sure I will plant my butt in one of those waterside tables for quite some time.

Photo Source: Disney

Photo Source: Disney

The atmosphere actually reminds me of San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, which is one of my favorite lunch spots!  So we will be visiting Blue Bayou for lunch on our second day in Disneyland…oh boy!  Now as far as menu items are concerned, I know the famous Monte Cristo is a fan favorite, but between the eggs, grains and sugar, that is sure to throw my digestive system into a tailspin!  I’ve been leaning more towards the Jambalya…now that looks delicious!

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

The last reservation I’ve made is at what I’ve heard is the best Disney restaurant there is by my good friend and dining expert Rick Howard. It’s the one and only Napa Rose.  I was lucky enough to snag a reservation at the Chef’s Counter on the last night of our trip (yes, I called exactly 60 days out like a good WDW veteran does!).  This will be a great way to celebrate my completion of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!  I haven’t had a Chef’s Table experience in almost 3 years when we ate at Victoria & Albert’s for our one year anniversary, so I am seriously looking forward to this!  Also, I’ve read AJ’s review on The Disney Food Blog a few times and it is just building up my anticipation of this meal.  Sigh…can I go there right now?!?

These are the only reservations I’ve made so far, but I’m also considering the Wine Country Trattoria, Carnation Cafe, Tortilla Jo’s and Steakhouse 55.  They are all on my maybe list for other potential table service dining locations.

What do you think?  Am I missing any MUST DO Disneyland table service restaurants?!?

 

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